Friday, August 24, 2012

Tech Things Vs. Tech People

Thanks Lisa (The Innovative EducatorNielsen for publishing this off my old blog. In my re-read of my own words I find I have a few more things to say so here it is again, with some changes worked in ...

We tend to spend more money on "things" than we do on "people."  Though there is a great amount of disparity out there, it does seem clear that schools today are filling up with technology.  What they are not also filling up on is a dedicated person who has the job to coordinate the technology throughout the building.  I do not mean a technician, or I might say I don't mean only a technician.  What I mean is that every building needs an expert educator who will coordinate the use of technology for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators.  

This is a big job and can't be on top of teaching a full or almost full course load (I know as that's kind of what I've been doing for 12 years at PS11).  It needs to be someone who can coach teachers in supporting students in the use of tech resources. Also someone who searches out and facilitates the use of the best equipment and software that suites the school curriculum and community.  And finally in needs to be someone who works (Collaborates) with Teachers, Administrators, Parents and Students to best use in the classroom (and home) setting these amazing tools.  Do you know of K-5 schools that have this person?  I know of many private K-12 schools that have a tech coordinator, one that sets the tone of technology use in the school and supports the equipment, software, web use.  But I don't know of many schools where there are tech coordinators that are working in collaboration with teachers and administrators (much less parents and students) to push the daily use of technology in each of the subjects being taught in the K-5 classrooms.  If you have examples of that PLEASE comment on this post and if they've got any job openings.

In my experience most schools don't have a person fully coordinating the use of technology and because of this the use of tech equipment is mostly hit or miss.  Without equal parts of people to tech schools are not using technology to its full potential.  Those making the choices for schools seem to be focused on putting technology in the hands of learners and that's great, but it won't meet with success (or at least the full potential of success) until we focus on putting a person in every school to facilitate the use of that technology.  Technology is a tool, its potential in the tapping into the potential of the students, teachers, parents, and administrators. You don't do that with just the machine, you do that by adding equal portions of people to the tech mix. 

Computer Science in Elementary Schools

In my endless search for what's on the web about how educators should teach technology I came across this interesting page about the importance of teaching Computer Science in elementary schools. CSTA Blog Scroll down on this page to the title 

Montessori and CS in K-8


What do you think about this?  Is it important to change / push elementary ed technology by adding a computer science component to K-6 curriculum?  Patrice Gans seems to have a lot of interesting things to say.  Note too her links to Scratch and Scratch Jr. 

"There has recently been a lot of discussion about improving computer science education and the need to include the elementary and middle school students in the process. As a K-8 technology teacher, this age group is always on my mind. After attending a recent Scratch Conference at MIT, I am convinced, more than ever, that 21st century computing skills have an important place in even the earliest rungs of the K-8 ladder."